met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Definition of metric

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 metrics plural : a part of prosody that deals with metrical (see metrical sense 1) structure the analytical study of metric— T. S. Eliot
2 : a standard of measurement no metric exists that can be applied directly to happinessScientific Monthly
3 : a mathematical function that associates a real nonnegative number analogous to distance with each pair of elements in a set such that the number is zero only if the two elements are identical, the number is the same regardless of the order in which the two elements are taken, and the number associated with one pair of elements plus that associated with one member of the pair and a third element is equal to or greater than the number associated with the other member of the pair and the third element



Definition of metric (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, or using the metric system a metric study
variants: or -metrical

Definition of -metric (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, employing, or obtained by (such) a meter galvanometric
2 : of or relating to (such) an art, process, or science of measuring geometrical

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The metric system was invented in France in the years following the French Revolution, and a version of it is now used in most of the world to measure distance, weight, and volume. Basic metric units include the kilogram (the basic unit of weight), the liter (the basic unit of volume), and of course the meter (the basic unit of length—see below). Metric—or more often metrical—can also refer to the basic underlying rhythm of songs and poetry. So while the scientists' measurements are usually metric, the poets' are usually metrical.

Examples of metric in a Sentence

Noun according to the usual metrics by which we judge fiction, this novel is an utter failure Adjective The metric unit of energy is the “joule.”
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Statcast’s defensive metric, outs above average, does not favor Andrus as much. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 July 2021 Should the court have grouped the two counts, his total offense level — a metric used in sentencing — would have dropped from a 39 to a 37. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 14 July 2021 Then, find the root behavior contributing to that metric. Mohammad Anwar, Forbes, 5 July 2021 For that reason, in 2010, Moed developed the methodology for a different metric—the Source Normalized Impact by Paper (SNIP)—that was adopted by a Clarivate competitor, the publishing giant Elsevier, in its Scopus bibliometric database. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, 30 June 2021 That metric grew at a sluggish pace throughout the last economic expansion but is now showing signs of resurgence. Sarah Chaney Cambon, WSJ, 27 June 2021 But is Twitter outrage (or, heaven forfend, praise) a useful metric for audience engagement? Bethy Squires, Vulture, 27 May 2021 Whichever architecture offers the best performance-per-watt metric will likely win. Prakash Sangam, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Last week, Caine had said herd immunity would likely play a role in reopening, rather than just one specific metric. Rashika Jaipuriar, The Indianapolis Star, 1 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Another metric, regularly used by the late indexing visionary Jack Bogle, tells us that future stock prices will be the sum of three things: dividend yield, earnings growth and the change in price-to-earnings multiple. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 18 July 2021 San Bernardino County has an even worse metric, with 6.1 COVID-19 hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents. Los Angeles Times, 16 July 2021 And, Apple Health will show the new walking steadiness metric, which is tracked by your Apple Watch. Maren Estrada, BGR, 16 July 2021 In this case, the training itself often becomes the metric, rather than what the training is supposed to impart. Glenn Llopis, Forbes, 26 June 2021 The Dodgers, by every conceivable metric, advanced and archaic, possess one of the best offenses in the major leagues despite injuries to key contributors. Los Angeles Times, 20 June 2021 Using that metric, who are the best in-season acquisitions in Brewers history? Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 June 2021 At least according to one narrow metric—restaurant dining in the seven wealthy countries where OpenTable operates—the recovery is already here. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 4 June 2021 The lead pop single from Evermore became Swift's seventh No. 1 on the multi-metric, all-genre Billboard Hot 100 upon its debut on the Dec. 26, 2020-dated tally. Gary Trust, Billboard, 22 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of metric


1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1862, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for metric


metric "metrical art, prosody" (in part borrowed from Late Latin metrica —short for ars metrica "metrical art"— from feminine of Latin metricus "metrical, rhythmic," borrowed from Greek metrikós; in part borrowed from Greek metrikḗ —short for metrikḕ téchnē "metrical craft"— or metriká, from, respectively, feminine singular and neuter plural of metrikós "by measurement, metrical") + -ics; (sense 2-3) probably noun derivative of metric "of measurement," earliest in mathematical use, probably after German Metrik — more at metrical


borrowed from French métrique, from mètre meter entry 3 + -ique -ic entry 1

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for metric



English Language Learners Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or based on the metric system


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Kids Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or based on the metric system metric measurements


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Medical Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or using the metric system a metric study

Other Words from metric

metrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce metric (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on metric

Nglish: Translation of metric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of metric for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about metric


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